While on my mission I can be contacted at ashley.lynch@myldsmail.net

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Big Bad Willie to Brother Houser

We had out first interviews with President and Sister Stratford this week! They are wonderful and have so much love for each of us already. Something that President Stratford has invited us all to do, and I would extend this invitation to all of you as well, is to really focus on our nightly prayers. That is such a  sacred time we have each day to account to the Lord the things we have done and tell him how we feel about the things we experienced throughout the day. I promise that as you come to the Lord and pour out your hear that he will ease your concerns, answer your questions and let you feel how much he loves you. Those assurances are what keep me going everyday.

"I went from Big Bad Willie to Brother Houser." Bill was baptized this Saturday! It is always a wonderful and special experience to witness one of God's children make such sacred covenants that will alter the course of their lives. Bill has already made so many changes in his life to come closer to his Heavenly Father and his Savior. I have come to love hims o much as I have served him and been an instrument in the Lord's hands to help him get here. I cannot begin to express to you the joy I feel! God is going to do amazing things with him on this journey he has just embarked on. Funny thing though, he didn't show up Sunday to be confirmed and receive the Holy Ghost....we had a nice long talk about recognizing when the spirit is telling you things and when it is someone else. He will officially be a member next Sunday, you can count on that.
 
 

I want you all to know my testimony of how much our Heavenly Father loves each of us. God knows us and loves us each of us individually. All he wants is to help us reach our divine potential he has seen in us from the beginning, because we literally are his children and there is a piece of his divinity always with us. He will give us correction, but always out of love so we can learn and grow. God only wants to build us up to reach that potential, so he would never tell us anything about ourselves that is degrading, discouraging or disappointing. If you do have these thoughts, you are listening to the wrong voice, which is are challenge many of us have to overcome. I would plead with you to do the things God has asked of you aren't prepare yourself to hear the voice of the spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Strive to listen to the Spirit! I love you all, just keep smiling!

Monday, July 10, 2017

God Answers Prayers Because He Cares

Cornfields!
 Everyday I think about how amazing it is that God places us exactly where we need to be. He is so mindful of all of his children and what they need, I am so grateful to be his hands and part of that delivery system.

First off, Bill Houser. He has been working towards baptism for a very long time and recently he told the sisters that if he prayed about a date to be baptized and got the same answer they did he would know for sure it is what God wanted for him. Well, on the 4th of July while Bill was cooking hotdogs for all of us we asked him if he had been praying about a date. He said that he had, but wanted to hear ours first. We told him that we had felt that July 15th was right and as soon as we said that he stopped, his eyes got wide and said, "No way! That is the day I thought of too!" Bill is so ready and very excited for his baptism this upcoming Saturday. It is amazing that the Lord knew he needed that kind of witness and provided it to him.
 
Bill, Sister Asay and I
 
God knows the kinds of answers we all need, even if we don't. I have experienced so many answers to prayers for myself lately and none of them have been in ways I expected, but they always come. Often times the Lord wants us to make a decision and come to him for confirmation. Like one of our friends lately has been struggling with making a very big decision. She never felt a definite answer from God as she prayed, but she felt Him pulling her in a specific direction and was able to find peace in that answer. That is the key, is being humble enough to accept the answer even if it doesn't come in the way we expect or hope for.

Thursday we had exchanges and oh boy was it raining that day. It started pouring as soon as we left the apartment and all we had that morning was knocking doors. We looked absolutely ridiculous trudging through the pouring rain and now flooded streets trying to find those who were whole and ready to hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite the elements we were smiling all the way and the thought came to me that nothing is worth more than sharing the gospel, no shoes or possessions, comfort or pride. We met many wonderful people that day who I know were put in our path for a reason.

Last night was so cool. We ended the night with Tom who we met sitting in his garage as we were walking down the street. He waved us up his drive and set chairs out for us and we talked about the beauty of God's plan for each of us. He just kept saying how neat this situation was and how much he was going to thank god for it. Before we left he offered a prayer and said that he usually doesn't talk to people like us but thanked God for having him keep his garage open that day and that we walked down his street.

I am so grateful to be a part of this great work and to experience people's prayers being answered everyday. I love in the Doctrine and Covenants 103:36 where it says,
"All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith." I know that we will be successful in life when we realize who has control. As we are diligent in our faith in Christ and rely on the Lord through prayer w will receive answers according to our faith and willingness to act. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Just keep smiling!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Becometh as a Child

This week was great! It was my first full week here in Piqua, there has definitely needed to be some adjustment but I am loving it!

We are working with some awesome people! I told you a bit about the Schaeffers last week, they are still doing awesome. It is just the coolest thing to have a whole family learning together and making changes to come closer to Christ. Everything is so much more meaningful as a family because that is how God intended it to be.
There is also Bill who has actually been meeting with sisters for about a year and now his son Chad is as well! They are working towards baptism and it is so cool that they have each other to learn from and to support each other
. I'm telling ya, learning as a family is the way it's supposed to be.

I always love that God knows exactly what we need. I have been constantly growing when it comes to opening my mouth, but I am pretty sure I am going to hit my growth spurt here with Sister Asay. She really helps me push myself and reach my goals, and most of the time I really appreciate her tough love. 

This week we met our new mission president. President and Sister Stratford seem great and I love them already. I cannot wait for interviews coming up and getting to know them both better! 

Something I have been thinking and studying about a lot lately is about learning to do God's will. I really love the scripture Mosiah 3:19
"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

Our whole purpose here on this earth is to learn how to align our will with our Heavenly Father's and strive to become like Him. I know that we do that by following the spirit who teaches us to rely on and follow Christ. I know that as we do this and are humble and full of love we will have greater joy in life.

I love you all, hope you have a fantastic week! Just keep smiling!


 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Cornfields!



I am in Piqua, OH! Boy are there a lot of cornfields. We are serving in the smallest ward I have ever seen, but there are still two sets of missionaries because we cover a lot of ground. My new companion is Sister Asay and she is a blast! Missions are so bizarre, we just get thrown with a person we know nothing about and immediately go out to share the gospel together. It is truly a beautiful thing, I just hope the adjustment gets quicker each time I do it.

I was very excited to come to Piqua, but not quite as excited as Sister Speakman was for me. This is the area she served in before joining me in Hilliard and I was so excited to meet the awesome people she has told me so much about. And they are awesome, it always amazes me the capacity of love Heavenly Father allows us to feel.

There is a particular family I am so excited about. They are the Schaeffers, their father is a member and now his wife and both of their kids are working towards baptism! They are such genuine people and have hearts of gold. I love being a missionary!

Something I have been thinking a lot about is from my studies this week.   
1 Nephi 21:15-16
15 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.
16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
Jesus Christ will never, and can never, forget us because of the incredible sacrifice He performed in our behalf. He knows everything we go through and everything we feel and will be by our side to help us through all of it if we let Him. So I would encourage all of you to find ways to allow Him to be a bigger part of your life and I promise that you will find greater peace and success. 
I love you all, just keep smiling!
 
 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happy Transfers!

Well, I'm saying goodbye to Hilliard. It has been amazing here and I have met so many wonderful people, it is going to be hard to go. I am excited for what is in store though and to arrive in the next place the Lord needs me to be!

This week has been awesome! I saw fireflies for the first time, we went to a baseball game, and we had 8 investigators at church this week! 
Lately I have been learning a lot about faith and trusting in my Heavenly Father. Sometimes it is easy to doubt, because honestly it doesn't take any effort, but I know that if we put the work into exercising our faith that we will be able to experience true joy. I did a lot of that learning on exchanges this week with our amazing Sister Training Leaders, which is also when I saw fireflies for the first time.
We went to the Columbus Clippers Baseball game because my amazing companion was invited to be a part of a choir of missionaries to sing the National Anthem. It was pretty weird to be in the real world like that, but we got to talk to a ton of people!
 
 
Probably the most exciting thing though was having so many wonderful people join us in worshiping
our Savior this Sunday! Some of the Salem family was there, as well as a new family we met (The Galbans), and Rachel and Daniel! Our ward did an amazing job of making sure everyone was taken care of and had a friend. All of these amazing people have such a special place in my heart that will always be there. I'm sad I won't get to be here myself for all of it, but I can't wait to hear about the amazing things things in store for them as they continue to come closer to Jesus Christ.

This past week was Father's Day and I have been thinking a lot about all the amazing men that have influenced my life; my father, grandfathers, uncles, friends. Something that really struck me with all the talk of fathers this Sunday was the reality of our Heavenly parents. Of all the things we could call God, He asks that we call Him Father. I know that He loves each one of us individually and perfectly, and that he wants for us to turn to Him and know of that love. I am so grateful for the influence of my heavenly parents in my life in addition to all my earthly role models. I encourage you all to continue to develop your relationship with your Heavenly Father, because the closer we are to Him the more peace and joy we will have in our lives.

I love you all, just keep smiling!
 
The Salem Family
 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Being Sister Lynch

This week has been a truly great week and I feel so good! Heavenly Father has blessed us with some truly awesome experiences!
Our week started with an incredible example of member missionary work. I have talked before about how the greatest way to share the gospel is through love and service. Well a sister in our ward has recently developed a friendship with her neighbor and they talk about life and all the little and big things. Well, often gospel topics will come up in conversation. The Sister in our ward told her friend about the missionaries and how all they do is teach lessons that answer a lot of her questions, and asked if she would like to meet us. It is such a simple thing that I think we often make too big a deal out of. We were able to meet her neighbor and have a normal, enjoyable conversation where any other person wouldn't have realized it, but we taught her the whole first lesson. AND she wants to meet with us again. So many miracles can come from just the simple act of faith of inviting.

So last Monday we probably met one of the coolest people ever. Her name is Rachel and we met her outside her apartment walking her dog. We started talking to her like any other random person we meet, but it soon became a very unique conversation. I think my favorite thing about her is how many questions she asks and that everything we ask her she asks right back to us, and you can tell she cares about the answer and sees us as real people and not just missionaries. That first night she eagerly put her dog away and grabbed a blanket so we could sit outside and teach her. It has only been a week since we met her, but she has invited her boyfriend to learn as well and they are both doing awesome! They read the Book of Mormon together and probably offer the most sincere prayers I have ever heard. They are just so humble and have a true desire to learn. I have no doubt that Heavenly Father has been preparing them and that He put her in our path that night for a reason. I love being a missionary!

This week we had our last Zone Conference with President and Sister Daines, and we got to go to the temple! I have missed the temple so much and it was a blessing to be able to go again. There were so many wonderful things that I learned this conference, but the main theme that hit me was prayer.  We talk about prayer so much with our investigators, that that is how they will find answers. We teach them how to pray, what to pray for, who they pray to, and the way answers will come. We as missionaries pray so much and I have noticed that if we are not actively working on it, like with all things, it is easy to become complacent. So my focus now is going to be on my prayers, and applying all of those principles we try to help our investigators understand. Because effective prayer requires great effort.

Something I have been focusing on a lot lately is "Being Sister Lynch." That may seem like an odd thing, but I have noticed that the more I think about all the things I have to do, the more I get in the way of myself. So, I have been putting more emphasis on putting myself out there and showing my personality and things have been a whole lot different and I have been able to be more effective. I know that there are people here who need me specifically, they need my type of personality to help them understand this message. I have become a more effective instrument in the Lord's hands when I allow Him to use me, Sister Lynch, not just some person with a tag on who tells people about the gospel. So I would encourage each of you to just be yourself. Open up and put yourself out there so the Lord can use you to reach others. Because I know there are people in your lives who need you specifically, so serve others and let them see who you are. 
I love you all! Just keep smiling!
 
 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Go About Doing Good

This week has been a weird one, but still good. There have been a lot of ups and downs, and funny things that happened.
Up: we had a translator at a lesson with the Salems family for the first time this week which was so cool! It was so nice to be able to hear everything the parents were saying to us and know that they will be hearing all of our words as well. 
Down: even though we had a translator things are still going to be a challenge. It is especially hard on their mom who told us she doesn't want us coming over as often. They also didn't come to church this Sunday. We are very anxious, but we will keep doing everything we can for their family and we have faith that the Lord will take care of it all.
Funny: yesterday was a very warm day, and from what we saw on the weather it was going to stay that way. Wrong. As we were walking yesterday evening it instantly got about 10 degrees cooler and the wind picked up. We were caught in off-and-on thunderstorms without jackets for the rest of the night. It was awesome. Thankfully we met some really cool people that we talked to and got to get out of the rain for a little bit with.

This week seemed to be all about service. We got to do a lot of painting this week which was a blast! We helped out our good friend Jeannie who we met a little while back at her garage sale, and then a sister in our ward that we help regularly. We have also been talking a lot to the members in our ward about service, because it is through those small acts that others can recognize us as disciples of Christ. There is a video about gratitude from this Easter's Prince of Peace initiative that I really love that I would encourage all of you to watch. 

I know that our own gratitude for the blessings in our life is the purest drive we have to serve others. So carry with you an attitude of gratitude and I can promise that your actions will distinguish you as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I love you all, just keep smiling!